Thursday, 14 July 2011

Riley Arrives, Squad List Updated & Renewing Rivalry’s.  
Well for a few weeks now we’ve known Paul Cox have irons in the fire, with a lack of signings since the opening day of the month, those irons must have been hotter than the sun. Now they can cool off a little as we welcome the latest new face to Field Mill, say hello to Martin Riley.
The 22 year old 6 foot defender pens a one year deal with the stags following his release from N-Power League 2 side Cheltenham Town. I knew after Tuesday mornings press conference that I’d soon find myself sitting here at my desk typing a ‘new signing’ blog, however I didn’t expect to be typing about Martin Riley! I obviously won’t reveal who I did expect to write about as that deal could still happen, but what I will say, is that it’s nice to add another new face to the ranks after a couple of games were it looked like we may opt for the trialist route!    
Looking at Martin’s stats & records, I see over the last three seasons he’s featured pretty heavily for his clubs, add to that the positive well wishes he’s currently getting from his former clubs, it says to me that he’s held in high regards and that we’re lucky to have him.
Martin began his career as a trainee at Wolves, signing pro forms with them in 2005, but departed in 2008 without making a single first team appearance. A short stop at Shrewsbury followed but again failing to make a first team appearance, Martin linked up with fellow BSBP club Kidderminster Harriers in 2008. It was with the Harriers that Martin established himself as a first time regular, becoming a fans favourite too, making 68 appearances netting 4 goals.
At the start of the last campaign, Riley, capped once by the England C set up during his time at Kidderminster, made the step up into the football league, signing for Cheltenham Town on a one year deal. Riley often featured in the Cheltenham first team during the last campaign, making 26 appearances, however his contract was not renewed at the end of the season and Paul Cox has beaten several other BSBP clubs to Riley’s signature.   
A mixture of league & non-league experience will fit right into our set up, I can’t wait to see Martin in action and see weather this capture will be enough to tweak the evident weakness from Tuesday’s run out at Nuneaton – the defence.
I wish Martin all the best of luck, any stags fans on twitter can follow our new signing here:!/LifeofRiley6
As with any signing, I always update the squad list. This time around I need to take one name off and add two more in addition to Riley’s. It emerged after the Rainworth MW game that goalkeeper Neil Collett penned a new one year deal shortly before Paul Cox’s arrival, whilst striker Danny Mitchley, who still has a year left on his contract but was told to find a new club shortly after Cox’s arrival, has been training with the club & has featured in the last two friendly’s, therefore remains a stags player and must be placed on the list! The one name removed from the last published list, is Conor Higginson, the youngster mutually parted way with the stags on Monday with a lack of first team opportunity given as the reason behind the youngsters exit by manager Paul Cox.   
Updated Squad & Management List.
Alan Marriott
Adam Murray
Adam Smith
Tom Naylor
Louis Briscoe
Paul Connor
Rhys Day
Danny Mitchley
Neil Collett
Lee Stevenson (New signing – Eastwood)
Lindon Mikele (New signing – Eastwood)
Paul Bolland (New signing – Macclesfield)
Matt Bell (New signing – Port Vale [Reserves])
Anthony Howell (New signing – Alfreton) 
Ross Dyer (New signing – Forest Green Rovers)
Jon Worthington (New Signing – Bradford City)
Micky Moore (Assistant Manager – Joins from Solihull Moors)
Andy Todd (Player Coach)
Ritchie Sutton (New Signing – Port Vale)
Paul Ogden (Chief Scout)
Luke O’Neill (New Signing – Leicester City)
Shane Redmond (New Signing – Chesterfield)
Martin Riley (New Signing – Cheltenham)

Next up for the stags it’s a return to Field Mill and time to renew old rivalry, Martin Allen brings his Notts County side for a ‘friendly’. In all honesty tomorrow night there will be no such thing as a friendly, pride is at stake. We need to get the victory and show that despite our drop & county’s climb – we are still the better side!
The last league meeting between the two old rivals came in March 2008, during that heartbreaking relegation season. The game at meadow lane ended goalless, for the last game between the two at Field Mill, you have to go back to October 2007, the mighty Mansfield ran out 2-0 winners, a brace from Mickey Boulding broke an 8 game run without a win, 7 of those being 7 consecutive defeats. Mansfield therefore still have the bragging rights.
The encounters between these two bring many found memories, Craig Woodman’s screamer at a packed Field Mill, Isden Christie’s blatant Offside at Meadow Lane, or Giles Coke’s last minute effort thundering off the post in front of the stag’s fans who sensed victory – there’s so many, I’ve really missed these derby days.
Mansfield haven’t lost to Notts County since 29th August 2005, Notts County took home a 3-2 victory that day, let’s just home Mansfield’s unbeaten streak against County continues tomorrow night – friendly or not!
A preview of tomorrow’s game can be found here, written for a fellow blogger’s blog, he is a county fan, but he’s a top bloke so have a read & don’t forget to come back here for the match report over the weekend. If you can’t get to the game, there’s regular updates on Takeover Radio 106.9FM from 7.30PM, online link can be found at the top on you’re right.
Paul Cox will be putting a strong side out during tomorrow’s friendly, maybe Riley will be one of them, I would expect to see two maybe three trialists on show once again though. Chris Caruthers will hopefully be one, he really impressed me on Tuesday and it would be a crying shame to let him slip away, I believe he’s just the player we’re looking for. I’d like too see Rhema Obed be given another chance as he did well during his ten minute trial on Tuesday, but if you do give him another shot, Nathan Craig has to get one too out of fairness, I don’t think he’s the answer, especially with Caruthers on trial.
Joining the squad for the Notts County game will be two confirmed names, left back Alan Goodall & centre back Steve Watt will feature, with possibly one more if the player is willing to travel. It was mentioned Tuesday that Oliver Nicholas was due to start a trial with us on Wednesday, weather he has or not remains to be seen.
Alan Goodall is the type of player I’m glad we’re having a look at, a very experienced football league defender who can attack as well as defend, pretty much like Caruthers. Goodall’s playing career started at Bangor City back in 2001, netting 10 goals in 91 appearances between 2001-04. A short trial spell with Wrexham followed before linking up with Rochdale, 120 appearances & 8 goals for them 2004-07 saw Goodall depart an established player & fans favourite. Spells at Luton (2007-08) & our rivals Chesterfield (2008-10) followed before Goodall rejoined Rochdale, only making 3 appearances during his second spell, a 6 month contract which also saw Alan loaned out to BSBP side Newport County. Alan’s most recent club was Stockport, making 13 appearances for the recently relegated side at the back end of the last campaign.

Steve Watt could also do a job for us, although with today’s new signing plus the iron in the fire & possibility of Caruthers, he’ll have to really impress Paul Cox tomorrow to move up the pecking order. The well travelled Scottish centre half first appeared for Chelsea, playing a full 90 minutes in an FA cup tie with Scunthorpe in January 2005, Watt stayed at the premiership outfit until 2006, making his premier league debut in may 2005 as a late substitute at Newcastle United. A loan spell at Barnsley in 2005 saw Watt appear 3 times, netting once and after his release from Chelsea, he joined Swansea City only 3 appearances for the Welsh side included a loan trip to Inverness, however he didn’t play a 1st team game for them. In 2008 Steve joined Ross County and it’s there we’re he established himself as a 1st team regular, making 43 appearances & netting once before moving onto Grimsby at the start of the last campaign. He played 25 times for the mariners, scoring twice but was shown the door at the end of the season as the Grimsby rebuild began.   
From adding a new face to the team to preparing to renew old rivalry’s, that’s pretty much it from me tonight, I can’t wait to get back to my second home (the field mill press box) tomorrow, I bet you can’t either – COME ON YOU STAGS!   

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